On Saturday morning there was a knock on my door. I got myself up from the sofa, walked to the door, opened it and immediately my back was up.
Standing there was a young gentleman…with a UKIP badge on his lapel. I am quite open about my dislike towards UKIP and ‘most’ of its members. I am a gay man…there is a conflict of interests shall we say.
I looked him up and down, and in a very middle class fashion said;
I slammed the door.
You see, my front door is in South Thanet- where Nigel Farage is running for a seat. The possibility of him becoming MY MP, a very real worry.
I have worked closely with my local MPs in Maidstone, in Brighton and here in Thanet. My activism has always been targeted at my local area; my route to make change happen has been with my MPs…my concern is my cause is one that Nigel has commented on before….specifically banning ‘HIV tourism’ – proposing people living with HIV shouldn’t be allowed to immigrate here. We would be the first country in the world to change back to that law.
I hadn’t known that it seemed Mr Farage was actually with the gentleman that knocked on my door; had I known I would have had a calm, open minded and grown up discussion to hear for myself where I stood; both as a gay man and someone representing the HIV community- or at least asking questions on the communities behalf. I am still very interested in doing this.
I have joked. I have mocked. I even sent UKIP an offer of FREE Equality & Diversity training through edUKate Training. Long and short; I am on the bandwagon that is opposition to UKIP- in specific the members that say stupid things.
I tell you all this because I want to make it clear; I don’t support UKIP and I don’t intend on voting for them. This is not a pro-UKIP post.
Today, I woke up and went in the kitchen to make my morning coffee. I scrolled through Facebook whilst I waited for the machine to heat up and saw an article shared by a friend titled;
“NIGEL FARAGE BRANDS HIV ACTIVISTS SCUM”
My attention had been grabbed. Here we go again….another UKIP golden moment.
I open the article and read about demonstrators storming a pub in Kent to protest against UKIP- OK, I’m not surprised or bothered….
Then I go on to read that this wasn’t a public appearance, rather a family meal. Nigel, his wife and their two young children; 10 and 15.
“Mr Farage was in the Queen’s Head in Downe with his wife and two younger children at the time.
Demonstrators first went to the George & Dragon, believing it to be Mr Farage’s local, before they found him.
They said they chased the family out of the pub and jumped on the politician’s car bonnet as he drove away.”
BBC NEWS WEBSITE
I search through every article I can find on this…because this simply couldn’t be true?
HIV activists….this behaviour? Surely not?
The more I read, the more it becomes clear that this is exactly what happened.
They stormed the pub looking for Farage; paid NO attention to what they were doing; that his children were there and began what I can only describe as a barbaric attack on an innocent family.
To terrify his children to such an extent that they went and HID from fear of their safety is nothing short of abhorrent!
As activists- BY VERY DEFINITION- we fight against ill treatment, stigma and hateful behaviours…THAT was not activism. It was not a ‘celebration of diversity’. It was an ambush.
Whether you hate UKIP or not, whether you hate their policies and proposals or not, whether you hate Nigel Farage or not…his wife and children are INNOCENT!
Here’s a statement I NEVER imagined I would say…
I AGREE WITH NIGEL FARAGE!
These people ARE scum- or at least, they behaved like it.
Even after the fact, they are attempting to defend their actions.
They should be ashamed of themselves….it is NOT OK!
Does association mean that that behaviour is justified?!
Is it then OK for their families to be subjected to the stigma attached to HIV, of religion, of race; as the stigma attached to being Nigel Farage’s children was to them?
Is it OK if someone terrorises their mum? Their children? Them?
Of course it’s not. It is the very thing activists are fighting against!
I cannot express to you just how sickened I am- how dare people attach activism to this disgusting attack..and let’s not pretend this wasn’t exactly what it was.
Using HIV, sexuality, ethnicity, religion or any other ’cause’ as a defence for attacking a INNOCENT woman and her children because they don’t like what their father does for a living….there is NO excuse.
Had this have been a random member of the public; you had better believe the focus wouldn’t be on his branding them as scum- but on the horrific actions of ‘demonstrators’- the only thing they are demonstrating is they care more about themselves and causing unrest than the cause they claim to have been fighting for.
I also want to make it clear that, whilst these people belong to a well known group- they gathered together to from this group alone…it seems it was not and is not condoned by the group they belong to.
I hope these individuals really feel the hatred they deserve for the choices THEY made in regards to this weekend- I just hope that Nigel’s children are OK, and can eventually put this behind them.
To them I send a message of love and support- and to Nigel’s wife who was bore the front of this whilst worrying about where her children had hidden- if they were safe.
To Nigel- I send a very clear message that as an HIV activist, as a gay man as a HUMAN BEING, I condemn this behaviour and am genuinely sorry that your family were subjected to this.
To anyone else; I urge you to think before you act. The effect of this weekend will last in those kids’ lives forever. Don’t be the reason that happens to another innocent person.